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Old 04-07-2013, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Nanaimo, Canada
1,808 posts, read 1,590,666 times
Reputation: 967

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(Please excuse the rambling nature of this message; I haven't slept yet and my brain is firing stuff out at random! Still, I hope you enjoy...)

While I'm typing this message, I'm playing an MMORPG. I'm composing an e-mail. I'm listening to CBC Radio's streamed broadcast. I've caught up on local and international news, in a half-dozen formats from seven different countries.

I remember that nebulous time in the distant past where information was printed on paper, and distributed in the public square. 'Mail', in those days, had not yet acquired the 'e' prefix; sending a letter meant pasting a stamp on an envelope and dropping it in a slot.

I literally can't remember the last time I did that.

We think of evolution in terms of thousand-year spans, of countless small changes that eventually coalesce into a greater whole, but we're already transforming ourselves, changing from creatures of flesh into creatures of data, built not on human interaction, but on processing information and doing it in the most efficient and straightforward manner possible.

And yet, the harder we attempt to transcend the limitations of our frail organic shells, we remain inexorably human.

An irony, wrapped in a paradox...
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:25 AM
 
1,765 posts, read 2,447,936 times
Reputation: 1536
So...my goal for the rest of this year is to learn to do just one thing at a time before moving onto the next. I can be excellent at multitasking, but that usually results in my final product only being adequate or "good enough". I no longer want to settle. Usually, while I'm on here, I'm also studying for a test, checking my fb page, texting a friend, and writing a journal entry all at the same time. Every now and then I might throw in a movie to the mix. All of that is running through my brain, mixing and mingling and it can be easy to miss out on valuable pieces of information. Slowing down is really important.

The Digital Age, for me, brought about a decreased level of attention span. My focus is shot because I'm so use to doing so much at one time. It's actually quite unfair to myself that I try to soak up so much at once and I actually experience mental fatigue, frequently, as a result of my excessive technology use.

I will say that I have tried to go back to letter writing. I did this about a year ago and I was glad to have a friend who was willing to try it with me. But she gave up and I found myself feeling unknowingly isolated as a result of my refusal to use certain technological advances. It took me one additional year before I had an eye opening experience that brought me back into the technological era.

Yes, I'm very human. Very much so. And I accept that. I'm learning to take my humanity and make it work for me in a way that's healthy for me. Technology isn't leaving anytime soon...so I might as well learn to manage my time.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:27 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,800 posts, read 17,732,030 times
Reputation: 9029
I want to take an iPhone with me to a time machine back to the 80s and show people and see their reactions.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,628 posts, read 4,951,964 times
Reputation: 20852
We create & modify tools (technologies, environment), then our tools modify & influence us in turn-it's an interdependence of mutual shaping.

Have done some reading on these topics, here are some notes I took-
From "Hamlet's Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy For Building A Good Life In The Digital Age" by William Powers, 2010.
pg.60: "Digital work appears to happen at lightning speed, but only because we conflate the speed of our gadgets with the speed of our thoughts. In fact, it's the way screens allow us to shift rapidly among tasks that winds up slowing down our execution of the tasks themselves, due to the recovery problem. It's a false efficiency, a grand illusion."
pg.72: "Another weakness of the technological route is that it's based on the often erroneous assumption that laborsaving devices actually save labor. If the digital era has taught us anything, it's that a new technology frequently creates more work than it saves. Once you've installed a digital assistant to monitor your email, who's going to monitor the assistant-adjust the settings, clear out the rejects file, update the software regularly, and perform all the other time-intensive housekeeping chores that screen life requires ? "

From Brian Christian's "The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means To Be Alive", 2011.
pg.9: "I hate that when I get messages from my friends I have to expend at least a modicum of energy, at least for the first few sentences, deciding whether it's really them writing. We go through digital life, in the twenty-first century, with our guards up. All communication is a Turing test. All communication is suspect."

From Michael Chorost's "World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet", 2011.
pg.202: "Indeed, humanity has always been a hive mind, just one with low brain-to-brain bandwidth."
"True autonomy has always been an illusion. The World Wide Mind will just make this fact more obvious."
pg.203: "As I have emphasized, evolutionary ascent solves existing problems but also creates new ones."
pg.205: "Evolution ceaselessly ratchets up life's complexity, but it does not guarantee survival to any particular species or community. Species survive by occupying niches where they both draw from and contribute to the energy flow of the ecosystem."
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 5,112,249 times
Reputation: 3036
Yeah I guess the irony is that in the past 10 years, the main rise in technology has been in the realm of Social Media. We are communicating more with each other.

I see updates on Facebook and Instagram about high school friends I haven't talked to in years. And I'm able to have "conversations" with very famous or important people via twitter.

So I guess, if anything, we're living in a more voyeristically acceptable society.

Another irony is the collection of "stuff" and things like physical media is going away, but we are consuming so much more information and things, albeit on tiny devices. I like music. I liked collecting CDs and albums from my favorite bands, but now I stream all of my music; some of it on my hard drive and others on my streaming service.

My phone is an amazing piece of machinery that has so many useful things built in to it. It is probably the thing that has made my life more efficient. It's a realtime map, music player, note taker, email receiver, camera/video recorder, flashlight, game player, alarm clock and phone/messenger.

And although it's nice to take a break from technology; I love it too much.

On a bigger scale, things like LED bulbs; that are brighter, cooler and run forever will save energy costs even more. Solar Panels, electric cars, keyless entry, nano-whatever, are really here to make our lives better and I'm very excited to see these sorts of leaps in my lifetime.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 83,052,469 times
Reputation: 17517
Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
I want to take an iPhone with me to a time machine back to the 80s and show people and see their reactions.

The first thing they would say is: Is it easy to change the batteries?

And, if you took a smartphone back to the 1920s and started texting, the first thing would say is, "Heck, texting isn't that much more sophisticated, efficient, faster, or convenient than using Morse Code."
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:03 PM
 
1,094 posts, read 630,543 times
Reputation: 1970
What you guys are talking about is a subject known as postmodernism, and this I know as I was required to write a many-worded essay about it. As OP is trying to deal with, we are living in an age with an overabundance of technology and information, and although it is pretty exciting, it can get a little stressful at times. Instead of heralding technology as the be- and end-all of all world problems, postmodernism is a study of how our technology creates such an unreal and immersive effect on society and the individual, and if so much technology is really necessary. Some writers like Baudrillard are a little more negative and consider if the digital age is creating a terrible warp in human 'reality' and some artists like Stelarc welcome it as the age of robotics, with the human body becoming obsolete. It's an interesting topic but can get a little crazy at times.

Postmodernism is the idea that we have lost our foothold on the old ways quite permanently, and now live in an age of simulation. Now we can have gadgets, phones, interfaces etc. that communicate a zillion things a second. But computers are so efficient that they have created a problem. Unlike other old technologies, which in some part were temporary and interchangeable, digital technology is so reliable that we cannot go 'back'. Obviously there is the human problem of hackers and online fraudsters but now that our machines are so reliable, and becoming even more reliable, we're having a bit of a problem working out what our relationship with them is. We're putting our most personal and human thoughts in machines - things that are, despite the marketing, completely alien to us. And we're also treating them as more human than other human beings.

What is the difference between modernism and postmodernism? Modernists, like the Soviets and the Fascists - the latter who incidentally began as artists, not murderers - were obsessed with a new age where the application of technology would bring real progress to the human race. For instance, Picasso's paintings of speed and dynamism are modernist. Postmodernism is a suspicion of this idea of 'progress' and the ability to capture reality so easily, and that our machines are a little too hot for us to handle. Further afield, if there is the ability to create a database, doesn't that mean we could be in a database? And if we can create an immersive, multiplayer video game, what if... and so forth.

But anyway, the general theme of being a postmodernist is to resist artificiality, and to defy all other -ism's by tearing them down, something explored originally with Lyotard's idea of the metanarrative, and more recently with the insistence that all art is subjective and up to interpretation. It is a rejection of Freud, Marx, Descartes etc. and the demand that human beings, well, actually matter - more than technology. We simply can't rely on this junk forever. Given that the internet is spreading so much disinformation, technology isn't always beneficial, and it may not be able to solve our problems. This idea is a progression from the 20th century which really did believe that the solution to society was more machinery, and 'the new' - something which has prompted the rise of the postdigital.

Finally, what if it is too late? We have become so gifted at creating images that seem so real, or hyperreal, that we may be losing reality entirely - it may be disintegrating before our eyes. Something may have gone seriously wrong in our journey as human beings. We have become so addicted to virtuality, 3D animation, gloss and simulation, that it may be too late. In the excellently appocalyptic muse from none other than Baudrillard:

Quote:
Disneyland exists in order to hide that it is the "real" country, all of "real" America that is Disneyland ... Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real.
Horrible stuff! Anyway I've gone on far too long. But if you can't get enough Postmodernism, the best explorers in the field would be: The Wachowskis' Matrix, Reznors' Broken, Tsukamotos' Tetsuo: Iron Man, Hirsts' The Physical Impossibility..., Radioheads' Kid A, the Sánchezs' Blair Witch Project (the camera as the antagonist), Warhols' Marilyn Diptych, MacFarlanes' Family Guy, Cronenberg Videodrome, and the granddaddy of them all, Lynchs' impossible Eraserhead. And one of the best resources on the web for anything postmodernism can be found at The Age of Simulation.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
586 posts, read 808,156 times
Reputation: 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Royalite View Post
So...my goal for the rest of this year is to learn to do just one thing at a time before moving onto the next. I can be excellent at multitasking, but that usually results in my final product only being adequate or "good enough". I no longer want to settle. Usually, while I'm on here, I'm also studying for a test, checking my fb page, texting a friend, and writing a journal entry all at the same time. Every now and then I might throw in a movie to the mix. All of that is running through my brain, mixing and mingling and it can be easy to miss out on valuable pieces of information. Slowing down is really important.

The Digital Age, for me, brought about a decreased level of attention span. My focus is shot because I'm so use to doing so much at one time. It's actually quite unfair to myself that I try to soak up so much at once and I actually experience mental fatigue, frequently, as a result of my excessive technology use.

I will say that I have tried to go back to letter writing. I did this about a year ago and I was glad to have a friend who was willing to try it with me. But she gave up and I found myself feeling unknowingly isolated as a result of my refusal to use certain technological advances. It took me one additional year before I had an eye opening experience that brought me back into the technological era.

Yes, I'm very human. Very much so. And I accept that. I'm learning to take my humanity and make it work for me in a way that's healthy for me. Technology isn't leaving anytime soon...so I might as well learn to manage my time.
Technology has definitely changed my life. I have CDs I don't listen to and a huge amount of books I don't read. It's also kind of weird. While I spend a large amount of time on the computer I still actually WRITE in a journal and I still use paper. I may be a little rusty with the paper letters but I still send them. I don't think I'd have too much of a problem if computers and all this advanced technology were gone. I'd be fine with a TV and a radio or even a CD player in my room.

I noticed the isolation. I have a cell phone but it isn't one of those touch screens with the apps and internet stuff. I choose not to use internet because it'll cost my family money we don't have. since I'm not as connected to everyone I'm isolated. Yet since I have social media and everything I can talk to people and still feel that disconnect because I don't feel like I'm speaking to people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
I want to take an iPhone with me to a time machine back to the 80s and show people and see their reactions.
Maybe that's how the whole cell-phone thing started.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloven View Post
We create & modify tools (technologies, environment), then our tools modify & influence us in turn-it's an interdependence of mutual shaping.

Have done some reading on these topics, here are some notes I took-
From "Hamlet's Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy For Building A Good Life In The Digital Age" by William Powers, 2010.
pg.60: "Digital work appears to happen at lightning speed, but only because we conflate the speed of our gadgets with the speed of our thoughts. In fact, it's the way screens allow us to shift rapidly among tasks that winds up slowing down our execution of the tasks themselves, due to the recovery problem. It's a false efficiency, a grand illusion."
pg.72: "Another weakness of the technological route is that it's based on the often erroneous assumption that laborsaving devices actually save labor. If the digital era has taught us anything, it's that a new technology frequently creates more work than it saves. Once you've installed a digital assistant to monitor your email, who's going to monitor the assistant-adjust the settings, clear out the rejects file, update the software regularly, and perform all the other time-intensive housekeeping chores that screen life requires ? "

From Brian Christian's "The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means To Be Alive", 2011.
pg.9: "I hate that when I get messages from my friends I have to expend at least a modicum of energy, at least for the first few sentences, deciding whether it's really them writing. We go through digital life, in the twenty-first century, with our guards up. All communication is a Turing test. All communication is suspect."

From Michael Chorost's "World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet", 2011.
pg.202: "Indeed, humanity has always been a hive mind, just one with low brain-to-brain bandwidth."
"True autonomy has always been an illusion. The World Wide Mind will just make this fact more obvious."
pg.203: "As I have emphasized, evolutionary ascent solves existing problems but also creates new ones."
pg.205: "Evolution ceaselessly ratchets up life's complexity, but it does not guarantee survival to any particular species or community. Species survive by occupying niches where they both draw from and contribute to the energy flow of the ecosystem."
I've also noticed a slowdown and reduction in my work quality. Since I'm distracted by a bunch of other things, I took four days on a sample article I could or should have don in at least a day. Even now, as I type this I have 5 tabs up and Word open.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harhar View Post
Yeah I guess the irony is that in the past 10 years, the main rise in technology has been in the realm of Social Media. We are communicating more with each other.

I see updates on Facebook and Instagram about high school friends I haven't talked to in years. And I'm able to have "conversations" with very famous or important people via twitter.

So I guess, if anything, we're living in a more voyeristically acceptable society.

Another irony is the collection of "stuff" and things like physical media is going away, but we are consuming so much more information and things, albeit on tiny devices. I like music. I liked collecting CDs and albums from my favorite bands, but now I stream all of my music; some of it on my hard drive and others on my streaming service.

My phone is an amazing piece of machinery that has so many useful things built in to it. It is probably the thing that has made my life more efficient. It's a realtime map, music player, note taker, email receiver, camera/video recorder, flashlight, game player, alarm clock and phone/messenger.

And although it's nice to take a break from technology; I love it too much.

On a bigger scale, things like LED bulbs; that are brighter, cooler and run forever will save energy costs even more. Solar Panels, electric cars, keyless entry, nano-whatever, are really here to make our lives better and I'm very excited to see these sorts of leaps in my lifetime.
The bolded portion of this post reminds me of this and the episode that contains it:


Futurama 6x03 - eyePhone - YouTube

Personally I like media collecting. Books, CDs, DVDs, VHS, etc. It's sad that we don't use enough of the old stuff especially since there may come a time when the new stuff we use will become useless. I'd love it if I could open a huge library that stores all possible media. Maybe it could be floating around in a large space station where it will all be preserved for all eternity like some kind of eternal hall of records.

I think there is going to be a time when we're going to merge with our technology. We will all be connected and interconnected. Our frail bodies will be completely enhanced by our technology.

The scariest thing about that to me is the possibility that people might loose their individuality. It's scary to me because I like being unique. It may be lonely at times but I like creating things on my own and doing my own thing. I'd only be fine with it if I could live between the two worlds.
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